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Paul Bergen molested his swimmer Deena Deardurff Schmidt beginning when she was 11.

One of Bergen’s many proteges in the coaching ranks is Bob Bowman — Michael Phelps’ coach, the CEO of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, and a consultant for the Turkish national swimming team in his role for TSE Consulting.

Here are some of the things Bowman has said about Bergen.


“I thought, This is a guy who knows what he’s doing,” Bowman recalls. “I wanted to work with him, but after the 1988 Olympics he quit coaching to train racehorses.” What to do? Well, if you’re Bowman, you travel to Napa Valley, buy a pair of knee-high boots and head for the stables.

“I’d clean the stalls and ask him about swimming,” Bowman says, noting that along the way he also got hooked on horses. He currently owns and trains nine thoroughbreds. “The horses have taught me to be a better observer,” he says, “because they can’t tell you what they’re feeling.”

Sports Illustrated, July 27, 2008, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1142303/3/index.htm


In the late 1970s, Tracy Caulkins did things no swimmer had done. She was coached by Paul Bergen, whose influence extends to two of America’s most compelling story angles here.

Bergen coached at a club in Northern Virginia in the mid 1990s, when its roster included a slight boy. The club’s cross-training introduced the youngster to running, and Alan Webb eventually attacked the track and became America’s best mile hope since Jim Ryun.

Bergen’s previous stop had been in Northern California, where he ran a pool that was next to a stable. After Bowman was fired by a club in Cincinnati, he went to work for Bergen at Napa Valley. When they weren’t putting swimmers through their paces twice a day, Bergen and Bowman mucked stalls and tried some oddball training, the reason for the bent pinkie on Bowman’s right hand.

“Paul drove a Jeep at a pretty good clip, and I sat on the back, holding [the reins] of this filly,” Bowman said.

“Something scared her, and she pulled me off. Paul’s golden rule is that if a horse tries to run off and you don’t come back with her, you’d at least better have a piece of equipment in your hand. I lost her, but I came back with the stopper. It hit my hand so hard, it broke a ligament.”

Baltimore Sun, August 11, 2004, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-08-11/sports/0408110141_1_bob-bowman-horses-bergen


When swimmer Michael Phelps began training for his Olympic career it meant hours training in the pool. But when his coach Bob Bowman wanted to improve his coaching, he headed to the horse stables.

Bowman, coach of the Michigan men’s swimming and diving team, learned the ins and outs of coaching from Hall of Fame coach Paul Bergen when the two worked together in the early 1990s. Bergen had recently started coaching again after taking time off to breed and train thoroughbred racehorses.

“I always wanted to learn from him,” Bowman said. “But the only way I could pick his brain about swimming was to go the horse’s barn, because that’s where he spent most of his time.”

Michigan Daily, March 11, 2008, http://www.michigandaily.com/content/swimming-coach-bowman-hopes-return-olympics?page=0,0


Video interview on FLO Swimming blog, November 20, 2007



At home, Bowman played Bach from memory on his keyboard and bought a racehorse with Paul Bergen, the coaching legend who worked at Napa. Bowman glided from glad-handing parents to running fund-raising bingo nights to talks about the biomechanics of swimming. There was a rhythm to how he coached and lived.

Michigan Live, http://blog.mlive.com/jim_carty/2008/10/center_stage_at_athens_bowman.html

In addition to being a swimming coach, Paul trained horses. Bob Bowman (Michael Phelps’ coach) looked for Paul while he was training horses “to know his secrets” and took his first lessons in a barn.

Team Oaxaca blog, http://teamoaxaca1.blogspot.com/search?q=paul+bergen


Irv Muchnick
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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick